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tv   MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle  MSNBC  August 22, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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understatement of the century, ali velshi. >> that is right. i'm now at least getting to process it today. i've been enjoying your show and trying to get through of making sense of everything that happened yesterday afternoon. have a great rest of your morning. >> you too. good morning, everyone. i'm ali velshi. its wednesday, august the 22nd. let's get smarter. >> where is the collusion? they're still looking for collusion. where is the collusion? >> i feel badly for paul. i must tell you that paul manafort's a good man. it doesn't involve me but i still feel, you know -- its a very sad thing that happened. this has nothing to do with russian collusion. this is a witch hunt and its a disgra d disgrace. >> very clearly there is no dispute that donald trump committed a crime. he directed michael cohen to do something that was criminal, michael cohen knows information that would be of interest to the
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special counsel. >> is he hoping for a pardon from president trump? >> not only is he not hoping for, he would not accept a pardon. >> we all knew that this was going to be used as a hush money kind of payment from campaign finances. >> you knew at the time? >> we knew. >> the conviction of paul manafort is another blow to president trump and a boost for special counsel robert mueller. >> mr. manafort is disappointed of not getting acquittals all the way through or a complete hung jury on all counts. he is evaluating all of his options at this point. >> its a bad day for the president and i'm sure he understands that. >> it looks like manafort and cohen only have more to say, only may cooperate more. this could get worse. >> i don't think he can be indicted while sitting in office, but we'll just have to see where this all works out. >> the heart and soul of this is about collusion with the russians and obstruction of justice.
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the president of the united states of america, donald trump is named a co-conspirator of a federal crime and now five of president trumps advise ares are victimed criminals. michael cohen, paul manafort, rick gates, michael flynn and george papadopoulos. headlines around the world shouting trump hell hour, a dark day for trump, the darkest day for the presidency since watergate. cohen pleads guilty. trump's former lawyer happy to testify. the president implicated. the president's campaign manager, let's walk over here with me was found guilty in alexandria, virginia, courtroom within minutes of the president's personal lawyer pleading guilty in a new york city courtroom implicating the president in his crimes. all of it bringing impeachment back to the forefront. let's take a look at the process of impeachment. the house of representatives let's do that -- let's open that up. there we go.
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first of all, the house of representatives draws up articles of impeachment. think of the house as the prosecutor, the document details any, quote, high crimes and merchandise that the president is believed to be guilty of. only the house can bring charges against a president but any individual congress person can start this process. next, the house votes. at least two-thirds of the chamber have to approve the impeachment. 288 votes as its currently instituted since there are four vacancies in the house right now. this is a high bar making many impeachment proceedings a bipartisan effort, neither party can do it on their own. once the house approves the articles of impeachment the matter goes to the senate. the senate tries the case and votes acting as defense, judge and jury. the threshold is two-thirds. even half the chamber voting to impeach would still acquit the president. two-thirds of the senate, 60 as it stands right now are needed to vote guilty for impeachment. if they do, the president is
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removed from office, the vice president would then take his place. we have never gotten to this step before with the senate acquitting andrew johnson and bill clinton. richard nixon resigned before impeachment proceedings could begin. had he not done that, he would have been impeached. john mitchum and jeffrey rosen. we even have democratic senators this morning tammy duckworth, elizabeth warren all saying this isn't the time to talk about impeachment, we have other things to talk about. jeff, let me start with you. i heard allen dershowitz on with hallie jackson a little while ago saying the things that michael cohen said he did with the president don't amount to high crimes and merchandise. the president actually tweeted out this morning they're not actually a crime. i think the more relevant thing for people who are thinking about this politically is that michael cohen admitted to doing something that was designed to
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influence the outcome of the election and many out there saying, maybe the outcome of the election was affected by the fact that these two women karen mcdougal and stormy daniels were not able to speak as freely as they otherwise would have had there not been money paid to them? >> that's exactly right. and history suggests that not all crimes are high crimes and impeachable and not all high crimes are necessarily criminal, but remember the framers said treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. so bribery of a president who was a secret spy or foreign agent to influence an election is the quintessential thing that the framers tried to reform. giving as well as taking a bry is impeachable. if the president through his lawyer bribed stormy daniels to keep quiet to influence the election, its at least arguable and democrats will argue that
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not only is that the periphery but at the very center of it. let's think about this from a historical context. we talked about the three presidents that had proceedings at least begun against them. historically its a big deal, right? republicans in this administration, in congress, have been reluctant to even criticize the president on things that are much less serious than this. its unclear whether this is the final straw or this is the bridge that was too far but the bottom line is, it takes a lot for congress to go down that road of impeachment or even the steps leading up to impeachment. >> and it was supposed to as james mattis said at the convention, malad administration was not grounds for impeachment. if you disagree with him, with the president on various issues, if you think its incompetent that's not grounds for impeachment.
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that's what elections are for. they were very specific in general in a maddening way in the impeachment clause. it is treason, bribery, other high crimes and misdemeanors. treason is defined in the constitution, bribery is self-evident. high crimes and misdemeanors is something that can be determined by any given congress in terms of how they, as you laid it out, how they choose to indict the president in the house itself. so its all certainly arguable. i think that one of the reasons for the temperature rising as rapidly as it has is you now have the president's lawyer saying that he directed him to commit a crime that was, in fact, bribery and so whether the house decides that's impeachable has a lot -- will depend on a great deal of whose sitting in
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the house at the moment. its very rare, its a nuclear option. andrew johnson was impeached not least because he was a democrat in a republican era. he even put on the ticket in 1864 by lincoln to broaden the republicans appeal in that tumultus election. the first impeachment proceedings is andrew johnson actually started before 1865 was out and they ultimately found a pretext for it. president nixon was more of a cover-up in terms of political espionage and abuse of power and with president clinton it was really more about perjury about the cover-up. so this is unique in that conversation and its going to be a fascinating ride. >> jeff, there's a lot of talk from people who presented as fact that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
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a former attorney general has written in "the new york times" that a president can be indicted and the trial postponed until he's not president and he writes, that should not however preclude a grand jury from indicting a president when the facts and the law warrant even if the trial itself has to be postponed until he or she is no longer in office. can you give me your thoughts on that? >> sure. its a debatable question but the bulk of the authority is in favor that the sitting president cannot be indicted. in fact, that's what the justice department has concluded in its official regulations. robert mueller has said he will abide by those regulations. mueller has made clear he will not indict the president as part of his investigation. interestingly, brett kavanaugh the supreme court nominee when he was working for kenneth star said it was an open question and he thought the president could be indicted or at least as you suggested indict the by a grand jury and the trial would take place after he left office. but relying on a statement by
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alexander hamilton should be delayed until the impeachment process is over and the president out of office, democrats and republicans agree that this president will not actually be brought into a courtroom and indicted until he leaves office but that doesn't mean there won't be huge questions about whether he should be named as an unindicted co-conspirator as nixon was, whether a grand jury could name him as such, whether they could indict him without trying him and then of course the $60,000 question or whatever you want to call it, self-pardon and that's never been tested. no president has attempted to pardon himself. its completely open before the supreme court and although the power is vast and some have said unlimited the principle that will the president is not king and no person in the united states is above the law has led some scholars to argue that the president could not pardon himself. that would be one of the most dramatic supreme court cases of the century. >> we're testing a lot --
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>> anything's possible. >> we're testing a lot of legal theories in this administration. you talked about how the framers had intended for the manner in which these things be handled and elections are sometimes the better option. the good news is we've got one coming up. for americans who haven't studied this as well as you two have who think there must be some remedy for this, some americans think this is just the straw that may have broken the camel's back. many people thought that camel's back was broken for some time ago. for those americans upon whom they rely, the courts, the justice department or the ballot box? >> and the congress. >> good point. >> and this is the system we have. my unsought counsel to people who are particularly concerned about this and i think everyone should be is to speak up as skuntly and coherently as
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possible about what you want the legislative remedy to be because that's the most -- the congress is the place where it is either a mirror -- far more often a mirror than a molder of public opinion, but the people themselves can't do much about the justice department or about the courts. that's by design. the framers put article 1 in the first place for a reason. they are our direct representatives and if people believe that the president's conduct is such that he should no longer be in that office, they have to make that clear to the people who represent them in the house and the senate, and right now as, by the way, during watergate you have a republican party that is going to be dragged kicking and screaming to this conversation, but we are a republic and we are a democracy.
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this is a case where our democratic lower case d impulses have to come in, people have to speak up and convince those representatives that the will of the people is now such that they should pursue these proceedings as vigorously as possible. >> thanks. this is a complicated but remarkably important issue. thank you for your time. coming up next, president trump's fixer is guilty of violating campaign finance law, could trump be guilty of it too? what michael cohen's accusations mean for the president?
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welcome back. some days we love social media because a number of you sent me information about something i made a mistake on in the last segment. i want to correct that. to impeach the president the house needs only a simple majority, not two-thirds. the house needs a simple majority. the senate does need a two-thirds majority, but that would be 67 of the senators, 66 of the senators or 67, someone will help you with the math on that, its two-thirds of 100 senators depending on how many seats in the senate are actually filled at any given time. thank you to those of you who sent that information. president trump is ripping his former fixer michael cohen this morning tweeting if anybody's looking for a good lawyer i would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services michael cohen. that's because cohen has linked the president to a federal crime. two counts, by the way, against
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cohen deal with hush payments to the women that trump allegedly had affairs with. campaign money may have been used and it was done in secret to have an influence on the election in one case the contribution was more than would have been allowed any way. cohen said in court that the payments were made, quote, in coordination with an at the direction of a candidate for federal office for the principle purpose of influencing the election. this is the part that is relevant, for the principal purpose of influencing the election. had that money not been paid the election would have been influenced. the payments he details are $150,000 to karen mcdougal paid my ami and $130,000 to stormy daniels through a company set up by cohen. both of these are separate and different campaign finance violations. the stormy payment exceeded the $2,700 limit on individual campaign payments and the mcdougal payment was an unlawful
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payment by a corporation on behalf of a president. omarosa says these payments were no secret. >> we all knew that this was going to be used as a hush money kind of payment from campaign finances. >> you knew at the time? >> we knew, and -- >> so 150 to mcdougal and the 130 to stormy daniels all that money -- >> unfortunately, there are a lot of donors, a lot of people who came to this campaign expecting it would go toward a victory but instead it was going to shut these women up and that is illegal. joining me now is jessica leave inson and nick akerman. thanks to both of you. jessica, donald trump tweeted this morning that its not even a crime that campaign finance violations. do you know what that means? >> i don't, because it could be a crime. so campaign finance violations
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can lead to civil fines and this can also lead to criminal liability and what michael cohen said in open court yesterday when he pled to violating federal election laws is that i did this at the direction of candidate a, we all know that that candidate is president trump, and -- and if that was done willfully and knowingly, then we have criminal liability. now, of course, as we've all been talking about, there's a question of what happens to a sitting president with respect to criminal liability, but no, i am not seeing his claim that there's no criminal liability here for him. >> and, in fact, to average people who aren't lawyers or aren't experts on campaign finance, the more interesting part of this is the president, according to michael cohen, directed it and it was done with the aim of influencing the election. so this becomes relevant that whatever the actual technical crime is is not what many americans are thinking about today, its that the president
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denied having done this, he denied it while in office and, in fact, it was apparently done. >> and that for the purpose of influencing the election as you said in the introduction. that's the key here because the question for these payments was always, is this to keep the marriage together, is it to keep donald trump and melania's marriage together or is it to keep the campaign together? and michael cohen answered that question yesterday, but we already basically knew the answer to that question because of when the payment was made, because of the fact that michael cohen was apparently approached further before the election and he rebuffed those statements. if you have these payments right before the election, you have the indisha that it was for the purpose of influencing the election and you have the president's lawyer saying yes, that's exactly right. >> nick, you take a different view in that while everybody believes this is a very serious matter and michael cohen threw the president under the bus in making a deal for himself, you still think that you have to take michael cohen in concert with paul manafort and the fact
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that they both would've known about russian involvement in the campaign including the trump tower meeting because manafort was in that meeting and this is really about the pressure campaign on manafort to tell what he knows and the pressure campaign on manafort by trump to not disclose anything. >> that's exactly right. the whole point of what manafort knows, he was so involved in russia. he was convicted for receiving, you know, over about $70 million from the ukraines which all came from the russians to keep their puppet in place. he was very connected to russian intelligence, to russian agents and was at that june 9th meeting in trump tower. michael cohen also, according to christopher steele and the reports that he accumulated, came up with information that michael cohen was in prague after manafort left the campaign in order to take care of the hackers that had hacked into the
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democratic national committee and to continue what paul manafort was doing with the russians. if you read the steele report and you substituted stormy daniels for the russians and the hackers, its like he was doing the same thing. he was trying to keep all of this away from donald trump. >> cover-up stories, keep them away, not have them come up. independent of the statement that michael cohen made, jessica, that this was done with the intent of influencing the election, would the hush money payments still be problematic? >> the hush money payments could be problematic for the person who made the payment, which is michael cohen and for -- there's an issue here with respect to the parent company of the "national enquirer," but it might not -- the question was always, what did the president know and when did he know it? and so because michael cohen has said, no, i didn't do this on my
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own, this was not a rogue mission, this was president trump telling me, yes, let's try and pay these people off to influence the election, that's the moment where we have liability for the president. >> that is the moment in which the legitimacy of this presidency comes into question because a whole lot of people said i don't understand why this is a bridge too far given all the bridges that have be crossed by this president. the president has been accused of doing, they didn't involve his actual presidency. some crime that may have resulted in the president gaining this presidency, that speaks to the legitimacy of this presidency, the legitimacy of this presidency came under great pressure last night. >> of course. this is what its all about. you've got him now involved as a co-conspirator with michael cohen. this is not some simple campaign violation. what makes this different than a normal civil violation is the fact that they used phony documents, they falsified the
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documentation making it appear as though michael cohen was doing legitimate legal work when, in fact, he wasn't. they set it up so he was getting $35,000 a month. he set up a company that was a phony company in order to make the payments. they had other people that were involved in this. there's even a tape with donald trump where they talk about the karen mcdougal, where there's a reference to paying off with cash, all of this has what are known in the legal jargon as the badges of fraud that make the difference between what is civil and what is criminal. >> thank you to both of you. nick akerman and jessica levinson is a law school professor and attorney. next, president trump could absolutely pardon his former campaign chairman paulmonfort, but will he? how pardoning power works?
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president trump didn't tweet for about 12 hours and then he got back on the twitter. trump is sounding off about the latest convictions against paul manafort saying, quote, i feel very badly for paul manafort and his wonderful family. justice took a 12-year-old tax case, among other things and
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applied tremendous pressure on him and unlike michael cohen he how farer refused to break and make up stories in order to get a deal. such respect for a brave man. a number of counts, ten, could not even be decided. witch hunt. that would be the ends of the tweet. and this is the latest defense of manafort. >> manafort has nothing to do with our campaign but i feel -- i feel a little badly about it. they went back 12 years to get things he did 12 years ago. >> i think the whole manafort trial is very sad when you look at what's going on there. i think its a very sad day for our country. he worked for me for a very short period of time, but you know what? he happens to be a very good person. and i think its very sad what they've done to paul manafort. >> i feel very badly for paul manafort. again, he worked for bob dole, he worked for ronald reagan, he worked for many, many people and this is the way it ends up. >> manafort had nothing to do
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with our campaign. that would be a straight-up lie. months ago "the new york times" raised the prospect of donald trump pardoning manafort. let's take a look at how the pardon would actually work. the president can forgive someone from a crime or excuse them from punishment. we should also note that the president can extend a pardon to someone who's not yet even been convicted of a crime. while its broad, there are some limitations that apply here. first, a presidential pardon can only be extended to those convicted of crimes in a federal court. that's the case for manafort. had he been facing charges in a state court, the president would not have the power to pardon him. now let's look at the pros of a pardon for manafort. trump extending a pardon is completely legal. this is an executive power. congress cannot reverse or stop a pardon. on the flip side, while congress has absolutely no say in presidential pardons, if they
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found the president is abusing pardons for corrupt purposes which this might be they still reserve the right to pursue impeachment which we discussed earlier requires a simple majority in congress but two-thirds of the senate. here with us now is former deputy assistant tom dupre. also joining us is daniel goldman. thank you for being with us. tom, let me start with you. michael cohen's lawyer lanny davis said today that he wouldn't accept a pardon if trump even offered one up. we don't know if that's true but that's what his lawyer said he would say. with manafort, is there any reason for him not to accept a pardon from the president. >> i don't see any reason why he wouldn't. one school of thought is the very reason why manafort was willing to roll the dice, go to trial rather than take a plea as so many other people have in the mueller investigation is precisely because he thought there might be the possibility of a pardon down the road from
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the president. the other option that the president could at least consider is whether to commute manafort's sentence which would mean that even the conviction would remain he wouldn't end up serving jail time. >> let's talk about that for a second. michael flynn has not been sentenced yet. papadopoulos, the special counsel, didn't provide substantial evidence and the government -- the mueller investigation has not challenged what the sentencing guidelines for him would be, zero to six months, he sent out a weird tweet saying decision time. could the president do a few things by suggesting a pardon for manafort and would he do it now? >> i absolutely think that manafort is playing the pardon long game here and we will know that almost for sure by september 17th when this trial in washington, d.c. is set to begin, because the time to cooperate, the last best chance is right now and interestingly,
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manafort's lawyer when he got out of court yesterday did not say as many defense lawyers do, we will appeal this, we have -- >> considering all his options. >> we are evaluating our options which indicates they're thinking about a lot of things. i thought for a long time that manafort is playing the pardon game in part because there's no other sensible rational to choosing to have two trials. it only benefits the government and so when you start to see donald trump's tweets and statements about you're a good guy and he's treated unfairly which mirrors some of the statements he made about other people that he's pardoned, the writing is quite obviously on the wall. as to flynn and papadopoulos, we're starting to see a little bit more into the recesses of mueller's investigation, not the substance but some of the background stuff. first of all, papadopoulos apparently attempted to cooperate, but was unsuccessful because he didn't tell the truth. so he's wiped out. he's lower level so he's not as important. michael flynn's sentence being
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extended indicates there's still an ongoing investigation where robert mueller and the special counsel's office needs michael flynn and his potential testimony and that is significant because it means that there's very potentially more coming down the pike. >> remember, tom, we knew about manafort and his involvement long before we knew about michael cohen paying off these two women. there are a lot of americans sitting there thinking all they needed was the evidence that michael cohen produce that had he paid these women with the intention of influencing the election, but others say, really, manafort and what he knew about the russians is more important right now and it does seem from the president's tweets that he's actually worried more about manafort and what he could say than what michael cohen's already said for some reason, i'm not sure why that is, but he does seem to be more concerned about it? >> that's a good point. the president should be worried about both separate prosecutions. as far as manafort goes, the question is what, if anything, did manafort know about the
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campaigns' involvement with the russians? i tend to think that there is a good chance that manafort actually doesn't have an enormous amount of information to give mueller because if he had, maybe we would've seen a plea bargain earlier in the process. it is possible that manafort is playing the long game as you said earlier. that would be one explanation as to why he was willing to roll the dice and go to trial. the next few months are going to be telling because if manafort's second trial goes forth and there's another conviction, at some point the opportunities for manafort to cooperate with robert mueller will have evaporated totally. >> all right, guys. thank you very much. coming up next, trump's former fixer and lawyer spilled on how the trump organization was involved in hush money payment to women that donald trump knew. we'll match those payments to key moments in the campaign. hundred roads named "park" in the u.s. it's america's most popular street name. but allstate agents know that's where the similarity stops. if you're on park street in reno, nevada,
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medicare supplement plan. applebee's to go. order online and get $5 off $25. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. back to our continuing coverage of the president of the united states being implicated as a co-conspirator in a federal crime. michael cohen's guilty plea gives us a deeper look into the timeline of hush money payments that were made to women that president trump is accused of having affairs with before the campaign. this isn't just the gossip is once was, this is a pattern of criminal misconduct ordered by mr. trump to his personal lawyer who is now an admitted felon. on august 5th, 2016, playboy model karen mcdougal signed a nondisclosure agreement with
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american media incorporated, the parent company of "the national enquirer." she received $150,000 from the company which was owned by trump friend david pecker to keep quiet about her alleged affair with trump. two months later on, october 7th, the "access hollywood" tape showing mr. trump bragging about assaulting women was released. later that month on the 27th, michael cohen paid adult film star stormy daniels $130,000 to keep her affair with the presidential candidate quiet. the next day daniels signed an nda covering the affair and the payment. 11 days after that, donald trump was elected president of the united states. now according to the criminal information filed in cohen's case, he created fake invoices sending the first one out on february 14th, 2017, the same day the president asked then fbi director james comey to let the flynn matter go. on april 5th of this year, the
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president told reporters on air force one he didn't know about the payments cohen arranged while he was president he said that, but a month later on may 3rd he finally acknowledged that he did know about the payments which cohen says were meant to effect the outcome of the election. joining me now, former assistant director of the fbi ron hossco and former senior vice president of the "national enquirer," stu z-ak a.m. the president is implicated in michael cohen's court documents. we can forget about the technicality of whether its an unindicted co-conspirator or whether he's the elections violations are not actually criminal, the fact is, michael cohen has confessed to making these payments for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the election. now what happens? >> well, look, if i'm robert mueller, if i'm looking through his eyes, i'm looking at the
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strength of this case and i'm also looking very closely at the weakness of this case, if its going to form the basis for some indictment by mueller where the president is named as an unindicted co-conspirator. on the strength side and i think dan goldman, you know, and you covered this just a few moments ago, look, this is "a" unseemly, "b," it looks conspiracial in the way its constructed, the timing is suspicious and troubling the way the documents are constructed to make for a cover-up. all of that makes for what appears to be a nice, tight conspiracy and potentially voiolative. law. there's been reporting in the last 24 hours of a former fec chairman suggesting these payments were personal and they are not, in fact, campaign
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violations. campaign finance violations. that if true is something that i as robert mueller am going to look at very, very closely. what's the precedent? its one thing to have michael cohen and taking a guilty plea to these things and his attorney coming out and professing them and pointing a finger at the president, its another thing to look at the precedent, who's been convicted of this before, does it clearly fit within federal campaign violation law or does it not and then secondaril secondarily, what else proves it. michael cohen is not good enough with robert mueller. >> the reason we didn't have a cooperation agreement is that this all came out very quickly and that all has to be vetted. they have to know that the stuff that michael cohen is going to give them is legitimate receipts. stu, the payments including those by american media, the
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parent company of the "national enquirer" are caught up in the allegation that it is an incorrect contribution, corporate contribution that should not have taken place. david pecker is referred to in the information. what does this mean for him and for the "national enquirer" and for american media? >> i think the major thing we have to look at is, aside from the politics, this is a first amendment issue. he is the media owner. i'm not defending him nor what the administration has done, as a communications professional, you look at the power of the media. >> right. >> and the first amendment gives us that power. you and other outlet covering news. the fact that he pays for the news is not what the issue is. >> that's a separate issue. that american media would routinely pay catch and kill, you take a story and you don't run it. that's a separate issue from the fact that they may have done this in coordination with the president and michael cohen to influence the election. >> yes. i believe so. once again, in spite of whatever
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the collusion, whatever, within the first amendment you have the right to say what you want. no one has to prove evidence and if its true and when you have an audience that pecker commands right now, it does effect how people think about things but it doesn't have to be proven. he has the right to say what he wants as you do. >> if it is proven -- again to ron's point, we don't know anything other than what michael cohen has said, but if he is able to create a triangle out of this, we know michael cohen was definitely involved. he says donald trump directed him to do it but he also says in the information that there were conversations with american media to this end, that they are doing this on behalf of the president. that then does become a slightly different story. if david pecker is now part of aconspiracy to keep a story out of the public for the purpose of influencing an election -- >> it doesn't. i don't know advocate what he's done. it's still a first amendment issue. i don't think there's a way you
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can tie him into that triangle. he has a base of people who read his news regardless, whether we think its right or not. >> right. >> he's not violating anything by doing that. he may be helping his friend which is once again why you -- one of the reasons you own the media property but i would take issue with the fact that there is something you can take into court on that would not explode the whole first amendment issue. >> thanks very much for your analysis on this. its an interesting discussion about how "the national enquirer" fits into this whole thing. the first two members of congress to support president trump are both facing criminal charges. we're live on capitol hill with details on the dozens of charges and what it means for the president and the gop. you're watching velshi and ruhle. how about some of the lowest options fees? are you raising your hand?
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get your groove on with one a day 50+. ♪ get ready for the wild life ♪ complete multivitamins with key nutrients that address 6 concerns of aging, including heart health, supported by b-vitamins. your one a day is showing. adding to president trump's worst week ever, the first two members of congress who endorsed him are now both facing chancellor. republican congressman duncan hunter of california was indicted yesterday along with his wife by a federal grand jury in san diego. they're scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow. they are charged with illegally using more than $250,000 in campaign money to pay for personal expenses including
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vacations, golf outings, expensive meals and school tuition and violating campaign records. two weeks ago republican congressman chris collins of new york was arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of insider trading and lying to federal agents. collins pled not guilty. both congress men endorsed candidate trump in february of 2016 and they continue to support him. >> you're going to start seeing a presidential mr. trump, he's talked about it, shifting to a more presidential speech-giving, policy positions, and demeanor. >> donald trump as president has signed into law more bills than either obama or bush at this point in the administration. >> i think it says a lot that trump even came to california. he knows he's not going to win here. he knows the entire state is against him. >> i don't care if he misspeaks or says the wrong thing.
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he has a different technique. that's why i voted for him. that's why the american people elected him. >> nbc news capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt joins me live. kasie, rachel maddow said last night that duncan hunter is the luckiest politician around, because earned normal circumstances he would be all over the airwaves. but in between manafort and cohen, his story got lost. >> yes, ali, i've been here long enough to have covered members who ultimately resign in disgrace and it's usually an all-consuming story for all the reporters up here on capitol hill. as you point out, there are instead these two massive stories about hamanafort and cohen. and this is a congressman who supported trump. at the same time, the allegations are serious. as you outlined, he and his wife are accused of misusing campaign funds for personal reasons. a variety of expenses, including tequila shots, including tickets
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for family members to fly to see the steelers, including a $600 airplane ticket for his pet rabbit. i could go on. this is something that had been in the works for a while. people have been talking quite a bit about the cloud hanging over duncan hunter to the point that darrell issa was even contemplating -- he of course a republican stepping down from his california seat because he was worried he couldn't win there, he was thinking about running in hunter's district because of hunter's problems. hunter will face a democrat in the fall. now, he is not necessarily the top democratic recruit, that's not necessarily what the party wanted, but at the same time he's caught a lot of attention with the progressive base and he has been fundraising, he was endorsed by former president barack obama. so he could be potentially one of those candidates, those new, non-politician candidates that we see coming out of this midterm election cycle, because as of now, duncan hunter as you point out is using the trump
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defense, really, calling it a witch hunt, saying this is politically motivated, that all of this is nonsense. of course the courts will have to determine that. for now, the house may be lucky that they are still in august recess, so we haven't had a chance to ask in the hallways, many of his direct colleagues in the house of representatives here. but paul ryan has stripped him of his important committee chairmanships as this winds its way through the courts. >> kasie, you've had a chance to talk to some people around there about their reaction to manafort and cohen. we're not seeing any real full-throated criticism from republicans, particularly about the allegation that donald trump was involved in directing michael cohen to pay stormy daniels and karen mcdougal. there are a couple of republicans who have expressed greater dissatisfaction than typical. >> here's how i would characterize it, ali. you're right, the senate is in session today so we've been able to talk to senators about this topic. there is a sense of gravity to
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this, that has been missing from a lot of the other news of the day controversies we've covered day in and day out now for basically every day of the trump presidency. you're right that we've not necessarily heard strong condemnations from across the board from republicans. bob corker did express -- he did express that this was particularly negative, i apologize, i don't have the quote, he talked to our marianna sotomayor earlier today. he has been very strong against this administration. we're still wait to go hear from jeff flake and lindsey graham, they have often been willing to criticize. but i do think you don't get people brushing this off. when we talked about security clearances, for example, i asked paul ryan, hey, how big of a problem is this, he said, oh, he's just trolling you, it's kind of a joke. no one here is treating this like a joke. they are instead saying, this is incredibly serious, we need to see where this leads. now, that of course is not trying to say that they are
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calling for action against the president or action to protect the special counsel or action to, for example, delay the kavanaugh hearings which is what democrats are now demanding or some democrats, i should say, are now demanding. >> kasie, good to see you as always, kasie hunt on capitol hill. stay right here, in just a few moments andrea mitchellel will speak live to senator kamala harris, a member of the judiciary committee. today he's building his own portfolio brands. find out how he does it when we follow him for a day on "your business," sunday morning 7:30 eastern on msnbc. >> sponsored by the powerful backing of american express. and american express has your back every step of the way-
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brian's back? he doesn't get my room. he's only going to be here for like a week. like a month, tops. oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. all right. that brings it to an end for me. thank you for watching this hour of "velshi & ruhle." i'm going to be back here at 3:00 p.m. eastern. you can check us out on social media and connect with our show @velshiruhle. right now it's time to hand it over to my friend andrea mitchell for ""andrea mitchell reports." dark day. the president of the united states is implicated as an unindicted co-conspirator in court after his former lawyer and fixer michael cohen says donald trump directed him to pay hush money to a porn star and a
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playboy model. what more does he have on the president? >> he will tell the truth to whoever asks him about what he witnessed, what he observed about the president's pre-knowledge to the crime of computer hacking or the hacking of somebody else's e-mails. >> pardon me? the president praising paul manafort just hours after his former campaign chairman was convicted on felony tax and bank fraud charges. is manafort considering flipping on the president to avoid his next trial? or is he banking on a trump pardon? >> at his age, even a ten-year sentence could essentially be a life sentence. the only guy who could give him a walk-away deal is donald trump. and party down. how will congressional republicans react now that the president is implicated in a felony? will they continue to stand by their man or i

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